Pensions News

If you are looking for the guide to Winsor 2 – CLICK HERE

I have been considering this past couple of weeks what the direction of this blog should be. Should it be my opinions on current affairs and how it impacts on the police? A funny but mostly sad rant about what ‘the Job’ has become? A news feed for officers looking to find information about the changes and how they are developing? Or a place where anyone, not just old bill, can come and learn how impartial policing, the thing we can be most proud of and the basis of our justice system, is being dismantled by the ignorant, arrogant, greedy, and selfish?

I have not yet decided. Maybe it’ll be a bit of everything. If anyone has an opinion on where they would like it to go, or has any specific questions about anything, please let me know and I will try and find out for you.

This blog has now had over 50,000 views. That’s not bad, but it’s far below what it needs to have to help make a difference. If you want to make a difference check out the ‘Breaking News’ post to see some simple things you can do to help our cause.

In the last couple of weeks there have been some interesting developments:

The Police Superintendents Association have had a sly dig at ACPO and the Winsor review, but it is not enough, they need to go further.

The Scottish Justice Secretary has called the Winsor proposals ‘Frankly Insulting’ and they are not implementing them north of the border. Well done Kenny MacAskill, PS any jobs going?!

“The only good bit of the Winsor Report, is on page 606, where he acknowledges that the affairs of Scotland are outside his terms of reference.”

The determinations arising from Winsor 1 have come into force, as announced by Home Office Circular 10-2012 on 16/04/2012, and are to be applied retrospectively, it appears, from the 01/04/2012. But no one can tell me whether -5s worked since 01/04 but before 16/04 will be paid at -5 or not?

Ian Rennie of the National Fed has written some strongly worded letters to Theresa May complaining, quite rightly, that the determination wordings for Winsor 1 differ from what was agreed at the PAT. This is a great example of the contempt with which Theresa May et al hold us in; trying to sneak things through under our noses. Despicable.

And I? Well, I have been doing a bit of digging on the pensions front.

An email went round work last year from someone talking about changes to the pension, how it’s going to be closed in 2015, we’ll all be put on a new one that’ll be crap etc etc etc. The Fed batted it off by saying there’s no proposals on the table yet, we don’t know what they are going to be, blah blah blah blah blah. Basically, you don’t know what you are talking about, stop worrying everyone!

This email has surfaced again recently with the increase to our contributions this month from 11% to 12.25% (for the 1987 scheme) so I thought I’d make some inquiries to use a well-worn phrase. (Is it inquiries or enquiries? I’ve never been able to decide?!)

I obviously run the risk of being accused of scaremongering here, so I’m going to choose my words carefully:

1) The Hutton review of public sector pensions recommends that our schemes (PPS & NPPS) are closed before the end of this parliament which is mid 2015 at the latest (but whatever we have accrued up to that point will be honoured – not very comforting if you have about 10 years service, well anything under about 25 years to be honest!), that a replacement scheme is brought in, and that the normal pensionable age for Police is changed to 60 (from 30yrs service or age 55 for PPS members, and 35yrs or 60 for NPPS members).

2) The Hutton report does not mention specifics such as will we get our accrued rights under the old scheme at 30/55 (for PPS) and 35 (for NPPS) but have to wait till 60 to receive benefits from the new one? Or will it all come at 60? Will it be staggered depending on age etc? As with everything, the devil is in the detail.

3) Winsor 2 agrees with Hutton’s recommendations, and the Government agree with both Hutton and Winsor 2.

4) Other public sector pensions are being changed from final salary to career average (which are generally worth less than a final salary scheme).

5) The AVC Scheme (additional voluntary contributions) for our current pensions were closed in 2010, so we can’t top them up with a bit extra.

6) Logica (pensions administrator for the Met Police) have put a stop on new recruits transferring their existing pension rights from other schemes into the police scheme. So PCSOs and civil staff (just about the only people being recruited into the police at the moment) joining the job since October 2011 have been unable to transfer any existing civil service pension into the NPPS. This is a very important, and telling, step in my opinion. Why would they be preventing this? Hmmmm!

7) On the 30/03/2012, a Parliamentary Standard Note, SN-0700, was sent round informing MPs of the details of the existing schemes. Timing’s a bit suspect isn’t it? Right in the middle of Winsor?

8) The Policy Exchange – a think tank including people like Blair Gibbs (he who suggested the moronic idea that police officers should travel to and from work in uniform. Erm, radio? CS Spray? baton? pay? All my neighbours – slag or not – knowing I’m old bill?!) – have been agitating for reform to police pensions for some time. Click here for their report about how expensive we all are, and how we can longer be afforded. They are a Tory leaning think tank with strong links to the current Government (Blair Gibbs was a senior policy advisor to Nick Herbert, now policing minister, and helped author the Conservative’s report on Police reform before they were elected, you know, around the same time Cameron made that speech that looking back at it sounds exactly like Winsor’s ‘independent’ review!)

So I think it is fair to say that the replacement of our pensions is probably underway, but we just haven’t found out about it yet.

In fact, there is proof that it is underway.

I have had a look at the treasury website and found a page of interest:

This is the page explaining some of the proposals for a future police pension scheme. What it shows is that the government have set out how much they want it to cost.

Dated 28/03/2012 in the first paragraph it explains that the Government have set the cost ceiling and that “The Home Secretary is currently consulting the Police Negotiating Board on the Government’s preferred scheme design.” So they are currently discussing the form it’s going to take.

It then goes on to give a couple of clues about the Government’s preferred scheme design “an accrual rate of 1/57th of pensionable pay and a normal retirement age of 60 (subject to regular review)” Currently in the PPS, the last ten years count double (2/60ths), in the new scheme this doesn’t seem to be the case. So if it remains at 1/57th for your whole service, although it might be fairer to those who don’t race up the promotion ladder towards the end of their service, it also means it will be worth quite a bit less. It is important to note ‘subject to regular review’.  This means they’ll raise the age down the line again if they want to, doesn’t it?!

What the webpage doesn’t show, which I think is important to understand the few figures they have quoted, is the change in the cost to the employer, i.e. the police authority, and therefore by extension the tax payer.

The proposed cost ceilings are 14.3% to the taxpayer and 13.7% to employees.

Currently the cost to the taxpayer (met by the Police Authorities) is about 24%

So that’s a reduction in cost to the taxpayer of about 40%, give or take a few percentage points. Remember, I’m just a thick copper so I can’t work it out precisely.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like quite a large reduction to me. Surely this sort of reduction in cost must have a significant impact on the benefits such a scheme would bring compared to the existing ones?

It also says the consultation period will conclude on the 22nd June 2012.

The Police Negotiating Board have a staff side, members of the Fed sit on it. The Home Secretary is discussing the Government’s preferred scheme design with the PNB. It’s there in black and white.

I think we should all be going to our Fed reps and hassling them, harassing them, for information about this, and demanding they send our opinions up the chain, and ultimately to the staff side of the PNB. This is our long term future we are talking about here. It’s not a few quid in your back pocket for working nights, or time and half instead of double. Don’t take ‘I don’t know’ or ‘Let’s wait and see’ for an answer.

For me, it’s my whole life plan. I decided not to do things early on life and planned to do other things when I retired. In between I decided to be a public servant, but now I realise I should have been selfish and done something else which would have earned me a lot more money so I could have retired just as early if not earlier. Become an MP perhaps? Cabinet ministers have just had their pensions increased. INCREASED. I don’t want to say what I was going to, because it’s rude. Very rude. It begins with C and ends with…

What do you think?

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12 Responses to Pensions News

  1. Emma Royd says:

    ……ts.

  2. angel rangel says:

    I’ve dedicated the last 11 years to the job. I’m now actively looking for a new challenge, and at 33 I hope I’ve not left too late.

  3. TomWinsorfan club (membership-1) says:

    Early on in this (as always highly interesting and well delivered piece) you say that you aren’t sure which way your blog should go.May I suggest,that most Officers even now have barely the slightest inkling what disasters lurk over the near horizon due mainly to the failure of the Fed to inform them and therefore you should concentrate appeal to those with their heads still up their arses by trying to illuminate the subject of Winsor with a mixture of wit and clarity aimed specifically at those who only see the ‘few extra quid for working nights’ cos believe me there are tens of thousands of those misguided fools out there.Some I know dont even know their pension contributions have already gone up.My Fed rep is literally pulling his last few hairs out.

  4. Lack of gravitas says:

    Don’t fret over direction of the blog, just let it flow. So long as pieces are well written and thought provoking you’ll have followers.

    I just wish the messages weren’t so bleak at the moment…

  5. Emma Royd says:

    My frustration is with the Federation. Why oh why are they inapable of getting the message out to their members in an effective manner? I can only speak of my own nick, but our rep has gone AWOL. Shockingly, most youngsters in my nick do not even know who their fedrep is! I have written to the fed, via e-mail, requesting our rep speak to each relief as they parade in order to inform them clearly of the current issues and rally support for the 10th May. This should be, I believe, minimum standard. I have heard nothing.

  6. standbylessurgent says:

    It’s the same in our farce. The fed are nowhere to be seen and my rep actually e-mailed me the below response to me enquiring ‘what are we getting for our significant contributions’. His reply is below.

    ‘The federation is not an obligatory part of the office of constable. If you believe that you are not being represented well for your contribution and you have the bottle, then leave, I’m sure the odd couple of quid will not be missed by the PFEW. 
    But lack of whinging will be a welcome break!’

    It took me a couple of weeks to calm down after this!!

    • Closetojackingthejob says:

      So will they be as smart if near every officer decides to leave the fed?. All of my fellow officers have been screaming out for the fed to do something…… And we are STILL waiting !!!!

    • TJF says:

      Bottle!!! It must take a lot of ‘Bottle’ to write a strongly worded letter to the Home Secretary!

      That extract from your Fed Rep is the most Strongly Worded thing I’ve ever seen them write!!!!!

  7. TJF says:

    Even without Winsor & Hutton the Job seems to be in some kind of Self Destruct mode at the moment. Morale is so low anyway that most coppers don’t look beyond the next 8 hrs as all they want to do is get through their day with minimum hassle.

    The problem with the Federation is that they haven’t been vocal enough through the Local Reps explaining the implications of the Governments plans.

    In the last year or so especially, with the coming Olympics, there have been so many rumours and contradictions put out by management in relation to changes in organisation, changes to shift patterns etc. People I work with are so fed up with this that they are switching off to everything because they are being bombarded with bad news and they do not know if its truth or rumour. People are burying their heads in the sand.

    As a result there is general apathy.

    This is a failing by the Federation to get out there are inform their members.

    As people yesterday realised there pension contributions had gone up (some only realising for the first time that there were pension changes!!) all you heard were comments like “At least if I pull out of the Federation I can off set some of the pension increase” and “At least the new unsocial hours bonus will cover the pension increase”

    Both statements missing the point completely and should be a wake up call for the Federation!!!

  8. I would like to thank you for your well researched and well written articles. I am like you an educated guy who chose the job over staying at university, has dedicated my life to the service, have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the whole, have taken some promotion, worked predominantly in uniform, and at nearly 25 years service been making retirement plans, which are now at best in abeyance and at worst, in tatters…..i have looked over the documents and prior to your conclusion had come to one which was much the same. I am in no uncertainty, unless you have 30 in by the end of 2015, then you are f!”£$d! You will not receive a full pension, and your contributions will be removed from the closed pension scheme, which might even be sold on like many a private scheme, nothing is out of the question! It will be left static, may not increase in line with inflation, so your sum will in inflationary terms DEFLATE, year on year! The rumours abounding my particular part of ‘The Met’ at the moment, ‘oh, if you have more than 20 in you will be left alone’, are dillusional, in my humble opinion! In fact, the bigger question for me, is when will i draw that pension? Will i have to wait til 50? 55? or 60? I cannot get even an educated answer! Will we be offerred the opportunity to retire at that time with say a 26, 27 or 28 year pension? Or will we have to wait until 60? At least at the moment, under current rules you could go at 25, say and know where you stand….this is, i think where i am headed! Sad, but true…as for the Fed, well, i have rung, emailed…nothing! They are too conservative, in my opinion…..perhaps SO and CO firearms units in the Met should down tools, might focus a few minds, and anyone who holds a skill throughout the country, relinquish it and put on a top hat and walk the street…..just a thought……

  9. Korkykaptain says:

    I am 55 next week with 26 years service. I was not going to do a full 30 but maybe another year before I go. However as morale hits the floor I am off ASAP So although this may not affect me too much what really rips my guts is that the poor sods I leave behind have and will continue to be severely shafted by this evil government. The expertise and skill base that these professional people have, the dangers they face are just ignored and they are treated like something unpleasant you have stepped in!!!
    I will say this, you can skin a cat a 100 ways but you can only skin it once… Ms May and her lot are trying to skin us a dozen times. They need to be bitten on the arse, time for the federation to grow some teeth, spend less time on the golf course, think about spending our ever increasing contributions on legal challenges, it seems to work for extremists avoiding deportation to Jordan!

    • TomWinsorfan club (membership-1) says:

      Korky,what dead paralysis it is that has gripped the Federation,and made them so utterly useless,is a mystery that may be deciphered by brilliant minds in years to come.Are they in the pocket of Govt? Are they just chronically slow witted and unimaginative? Are they just clinging onto their own jobs?Do they have a master plan to fight back at the last minute.Who knows.Their performance over Winsor has been imho abominable,and deeply shameful,leaving us to be completely and comprehensively shafted and sooner than we think.

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